When words are used inappropriately to describe individuals with a substance use disorder, it not only negatively impacts the cultural perception of their disease, but creates stigma that can stop people from seeking help. Language matters. Let’s replace terms like “addict” and “junkie” with smarter language that aligns with the science.
Sources: JAMA: “Changing the Language of Addiction”, Michael P. Botticelli, MEd Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH Language, Substance Use Disorders, and Policy: The need to Reach Consensus on an “Addiction-ary”. John F. Kelly PhD, Richard Saitz MD & Sarah Wakeman MD
Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem. Our national headquarters is located in Washington, DC with resources and services in every state.